(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) — Led by Nicole Caddell‘s fifth double-double of the season, the 15th-ranked Central Missouri Jennies earned their seventh straight victory and wrapped up a four-game home stand with a 70-67 win over No. 20 Pittsburg State.
The Jens earned some payback after being bounced from last season’s NCAA Tournament by the Gorillas, who went on to claim the regional title. Pittsburg State (10-4, 4-2 MIAA) looked in control throughout the opening minutes of the game, holding a narrow lead throughout much of the first half. The Gorillas jumped out to a 12-5 lead before the first media timeout, as the Jennies struggled to find the hoop, hitting just one of their first eight field goal attempts.
Central Missouri (12-1, 4-1 MIAA) quickly tied the game, as senior Erin Redmond hit a driving layup while being fouled. Once Redmond completed the three-point play, Keuna Flax tied the score at 12-12 with a layup at the 13:17 mark. Pittsburg State’s Y’Cedria Devers knocked down a 3-pointer on the next possession, as PSU took the lead until the closing minutes of the first half.
Down 28-23 with 4:25 to play in the first half, the Jennies closed out the half on a 7-2 run, as four different Jens contributed and UCM took a 32-30 lead at the break. Junior Quinnecia Twine led the team with eight first-half points, finishing with a career-high 16.
The Gorillas worked quickly to tie the score in the second half, using a Drew Robers jumper to even the score at 35-35 with 17:21 to play. Central Missouri began to put the game away in the following minutes, scoring 12 straight, including six points from Flax, to jump out to a 47-35 advantage at the 12:04 mark. PSU cut it as close as a single point with a quick 9-2 run, leaving the Jennies with just a 51-50 edge with eight minutes to play. Twine hit two field goals, followed by a trey from BreAnna Lewis, as the Jens went back up seven with 4:20 to go.
PSU made it interesting in the end, as Morgan Westhoff hit a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left to pull the Gorillas to within three. After the Jennies turned the ball over, giving Pittsburg State one last chance, Flax came up with the game-winning steal to close out the victory.
Caddell finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds in the win; the Tuscaloosa, Ala., native now has a team-high five double-doubles on the year. Flax finished with 12 points, as UCM’s leading scorer reached double-digits for the sixth straight game.
The Jennies will hit the road next week for a pair of MIAA showdowns. UCM travels to Nebraska-Kearney to face the MIAA newcomers on Wednesday before heading to Kirksville for a matchup with the Truman Bulldogs on Saturday.